One of the most aesthetically pleasing things I've ever seen on Instagram was the recent trend of scraping gobs of melted cheese off of a cheese wheel and onto people's plates. While a mountain of gooey cheese looks appealing, I've always thought that it also low-key looks like a heart attack on a plate. But, according to new research, fulfilling all of your dairy-inspired dreams is just another way to take care of your health, because apparently, eating cheese might help you live longer.
For the study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers looked at the eating habits of over 130,000 people from 21 different countries, all of whom were between the ages of 35 and 70 years old. And as for how they came to the blessed conclusion that your favorite brie can help you live longer and keep your heart strong? The researchers separated reduced-fat dairy consumption from the full-fat counterparts to determine how these different foods affected people's cardiovascular health.
Go ahead and load up on on the cream cheese on your morning bagel, because according to the study, the researchers found that eating more than two servings a day of good ol' dairy can majorly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. And while the study did find that eating cheese has a slightly positive impact on heart health, milk and yogurt were the real stars to give you a gouda long life.
These results are especially significant given that, according to Ian Givens, a professor of food chain nutrition at Reading University in the UK, this new study has the potential to change the way dietary guidelines approach dairy intake recommendations. “It also adds weight to the evidence that saturated fats from dairy [probably apart from butter] are not associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, unlike some other sources," he told Newsweek.
Besides keeping your heart pumping at its strongest, savoring a few servings a day of your favorite dairy treats can also go a long way in keeping you safe from musculoskeletal diseases, according to a 2015 study published in the medical journal Calcified Tissue International. Not only did the study's researchers find that eating plenty of dairy is great for keeping your bones healthy, but they also suggested that, even if you're lactose intolerant, you don't necessarily have to cut fro-yo out of your life forever. "Lactose intolerant individuals may not need to completely eliminate dairy products from their diet, as both yogurt and hard cheese are well tolerated," the study authors wrote. Of course, it's best to check in with your doctor about something like this if you're personally lactose intolerant, but if you get the go-ahead, that means it's time to bring on all the parm, baby — or, you know, at least two servings' worth a day.
In addition to the well-known bone benefits of a cold glass of milk, the full-fat drink has also been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes. One study, published in the academic medical journal The Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at the ways in which nearly 4,000 adults were affected by eating full-fat dairy, and found that whole-fat dairy consumption was strongly associated with both lower cholesterol levels and lower insulin resistance.
So channel your inner Liz Lemon and reach for your favorite hunk of "night cheese" — all in the name of staying healthy, of course.